Can I Still Have a Life During Nursing School?

One of student’s biggest fears about nursing school is not having a life. Student’s fear they will spend every day in class, clinical, or studying. They fear losing their social life. And they fear becoming loners taken over by textbooks.

While this is a poignant and legitimate fear to have, one must not worry about not having a life in nursing school. You can still have a life in nursing school – be that social or otherwise.

WATCH: Can I Still Have a Life During Nursing School? PART TWO!

Two Ways to Still Have a Life: Social Life vs. Inspired Life

There are two ways to think about maintaining a life during nursing school. The first way of thinking about having a life in nursing school is by being able to spend time with friends and family or do activities or hobbies outside of school. The second way of still having a life is by feeling empowered and passionate while putting in long hours and hard work. A labor of love, some might say.

We each start from different places. Some students learned how to study early on, while others are only just now learning. No matter where you come from or your background you can get the same results. What might be different is how hard you have to work. Some may have to work harder and put in more time than others to achieve the same results.

On a superficial level, if you implement the appropriate smart strategies, you can create time in your schedule to maintain a social life. In fact, I do encourage it because having social support lowers stress levels and gives you energy boosts when you need it most.

It’s important to note that school will take time, even if you have extra time to devote to other activities. The balance will remain unbalanced. You can expect to spend approximately 70% of your time on school and school activities and 30% of your time on out-of-school activities.

On a deeper level, no matter how much time you have or don’t have outside of school, you can maintain your life. The definition is different from the previous in that the life you maintain is your passion, enthusiasm, excitement, inspiration, and motivation. To maintain your life throughout nursing school in this capacity makes nursing school far more enjoyable and gives you an empowered experience.

WATCH: Can I Still Have a Life During Nursing School? PART TWO!

Change of Perspective

These days we find a generation that believes they can put in the least amount of time possible to get the highest and best result possible. While the philosophy and sentiment is worthy of pursuit, at times it’s not compatible with what is desired. In those instances, it’s necessary to change our perspective on what it means to “maintain a life.”

There’s nothing wrong with putting in the hours, especially when you’re working toward a goal that impacts your life in a lasting manner, such as attending nursing school. It’s no small decision to embark upon this journey. The magnitude of the decision requires a deep level of commitment as well as respect. That commitment may come in the form of long hours in the library or early morning classes and clinicals.

Despite the long hours in the library, your passion and enthusiasm determine the quality of your experience. Find ways to maintain your drive and hunger for your chosen path or choose a different path. You have chosen to attend school and pursue nursing as a career. It will come with it’s own unique challenges.

Do yourself a favor and drop any lingering mindset of victimhood, in which you tell yourself “woe is me” stories as you bemoan your way through each semester. See the journey as a worthwhile pursuit in which you are happy to be a part of. It makes no sense to complain about your choice when it was your choice in the first place.

Either way – It’s Possible

You can maintain a social life throughout nursing school by implementing smart strategies in time management as well as study habits. You can also maintain an inspired life by keeping a fresh, positive, and passionate perspective on the amount of time you spend on school activities. Whether you’re the type that has time management and studying on lock or the type that requires many more hours of studying than others, you can maintain your life during nursing school.

WATCH: Can I Still Have a Life During Nursing School? PART TWO!

To life,


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Smart Strategy: Anatomy & Physiology Review

Today starts the smart strategy of the day posts! You can expect 1-2 smart strategies a week. Today’s smart strategy is a real zinger. It takes you back to basics. It takes you straight to the core of your nursing knowledge: Anatomy & physiology (A&P).

Review A&P for 15 minutes at the start of each study session

You may be wondering: “I just finished pre-reqs! I thought I was moving on to actual nursing courses!” You are – but…

Nursing makes more sense when you’ve got a good hold on the foundations. You’ll need to review A&P throughout each semester of nursing school and even into your nursing career. A&P will never  go away.

Here’s how you’ll implement today’s smart strategy.

Once you’ve figured out what you’re studying for the day, grab your A&P book (or your med/surg book, which should have an A&P section at the beginning of the chapter), and a timer. Set the time for 15 minutes.

Dive into the material grabbing for:

  • anatomy
  • function
  • and major secretions

You want to focus on a simple understanding of normal. It’s information you’ll want to draw on quickly and easily when studying all that’s gone wrong in your nursing course. For example, create a flow chart: thyroid gland > follicles > thyroglobulin in colloid > tyrosine > building block for thyroid hormones// thyroid gland > c cells > produce calcitonin.

Then make a list of thyroid hormone functions:

  • increase O2 rate consumption
  • increase heart rate, contraction, BP
  • maintain respiratory centers
  • stimulate RBC production (increase 02)
  • stimulate other organs
  • increase turnover in bones

This simple breakdown of a complex organ and physiologic system within the body will give your brain a fresh reference point to turn to when studying the endocrine section. You’ll further solidify the knowledge in your mind at the same time.

All this information is easy to forget when you get into your nursing courses. You’ll be too focused on the signs and symptoms of hyper- or hypothyroidism. When you start with a review of A&P you can clearly see a link between the anatomy and function of the thyroid gland and hormones and the signs and symptoms.

The point being that as you critically think through a nursing question, you can run through this easy list or flow chart to uncover the processes behind it all and figure out what interventions are needed to resolve or ease signs and symptoms.

Let’s be honest – there’s a lot to remember, and there’s no way you can remember it all. Give yourself the extra boost by reviewing A&P for 15 minutes at the start of each study session. You’ll experience a surge in confidence, while improving your retention rate.

Happy Studying,


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